Global marketing and comms network Havas has released its Meaningful Brands study to show how our quality of life and wellbeing connects with brands at both a human and business level.
The top three trends from the study are:
- Meaningful Brands can increase their Share of Wallet by seven times and on average gain 46 per cent more Share of Wallet than less Meaningful Brands
- Top Meaningful Brands deliver marketing KPI outcomes that are double that of lower scoring brands
- Meaningful Brands outperform the stock market by 133 per cent, with the top 25 scorers delivering an annual return of nearly 12 per cent
The research covers all aspects of people’s lives, including the impact on our collective well-being (the role brands play in our communities and the communities we care about), in our personal well-being (self esteem, healthy lifestyles, connectivity with friends and family, making our lives easier, fitness and happiness) and market place factors, which relate to product performance such as quality and price.
Globally, the Meaningful Brands research found a clear correlation between brands which impacted consumers’ sense of well-being and their “Share of Wallet” – a metric used to measure the percentage spent with a brand vs. the total annual expenditure within its category is on average 46 per cent higher for meaningful brands.
Meaningful Brands 2015 demonstrates that brands that contribute significantly to our quality of life are rewarded with stronger business results – they earn a “Return on Meaning”. This can measure the impact of increases in a brand’s meaningfulness and how it affects each marketing KPI, the brand’s Share of Wallet and its performance on the stock market. Meaningful Brands also outperform the stock market by nearly seven fold, with top scorers delivering an annual return of 11.76 per cent.
The top 10 Australian performers for 2015 were Woolworths, Google, Coles, PayPal, Kellogg’s, Samsung, Microsoft, Vegemite, Milo and Visa. While usual (global) suspects feature heavily, the Meaningful Brands Index shows that size is not a barrier; with challenger brand PayPal taking out the fourth spot thanks to the brand’s efforts to make people’s lives easier and strong local partnerships with retailers.
Imogen Hewitt, head of strategy for Havas Media Australia says, “The Meaningful Brands Study demonstrates that brands perceived as improving consumers’ lives also deliver better performance across measures of brand awareness, consumer engagement and profitability. The most successful brands are those that create meaning and value by delivering on their promises to consumers. That could be through tangibles like price, performance or intangibles like personal well-being or community engagement.
“Locally, we’ve seen a real mix of brands and products featuring on the 2015 Meaningful Brands list. So, while there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution, there is a clear benefit for brands when they can offer consumers something that improves their own lives or the lives of those within their communities. It’s great to understand this relationship but it is greater still to know what to do about it, and that’s what the Meaningful Brands study does for us.”
Consumer electronics brands most commonly leveraged emotional well-being, highlighting self-expression and social connections. Meanwhile, retail heavyweights, Woolworths and Coles relied on marketplace outputs (meeting functional needs) to drive their high ranking on the MB Index while FMCG brand names like Kelloggs, Vegemite and Milo leveraged personal well-being promises to drive higher share of wallet. Vegemite, an Australian icon, rated highly on the Havas MB Index, pulling heavily on the heart (and purse) strings with nostalgia and heritage attributes. Similarly, Kellogg’s and Milo make the list as their brands resonate with healthy living and family, as ‘brands we grow up with’.
Meaningful Brands provides valuable insights into how consumers’ perceptions can influence brands’ bottom lines, with almost two thirds of Australians believing that brands should play a role in improving our quality of living and well-being. Despite the clear opportunities for businesses, more than 70% of Australian consumers feel brands currently aren’t working hard to contribute to improve our personal or collective well-being or deliver improvements in the marketplace.
Australia is unique in the APAC region, as it is more akin to more the mature markets of Western Europe and North America where consumers exercise far more discretion with their brand loyalty compared to younger markets where emotive marketing plays a bigger role. The research found that Australians are especially sceptical consumers, with only 31% trusting of brands, in line with other mature markets like North America (22%) and Western Europe (31%).
Conversely, the global average sits at 40% while levels of trust are even higher elsewhere, for example in Developing Asia (78%). The figures also prove that global polarisation in the way people feel about brands continues to widen. This is especially strong in developing Asian markets, where people still care about 60% of brands, an attachment 10 times higher than in the West. Not only is the relationship healthier in developing Asian markets, the Returns on Meaning for brands are 30% higher.
Ultimately, the 2015 Meaningful Brands study shows that levels of meaningfulness, i.e. a brand’s contribution to our quality of life and well-being has massive potential to grown in Australia from its current rate of 29%. Meaningfulness can act as a key driver for brands that wish to deepen connections and play a greater role in people’s lives.